The New York Jets survived two costly early turnovers, as they came back from a 14-0 deficit against the Chicago Bears to make it a game at 17-13 with 30 minutes in the books.
The Bears would fight off a rash of second-half injuries and a late charge by the Jets to hold on to a 27-19 victory at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Here's what we saw in this Monday Night Football showcase in the Meadowlands.
Jay Cutler couldn't quite finish it, and was then forced to sweat. Up 24-19 with under 4 minutes left, Cutler (23-of-38, 225 yards, 2 TDs) would be forced to eat a sack on 3rd-and-4. One of the game's best kickers, Robbie Gould, nailed a 45-yarder to extend the lead to eight. A depleted Chicago defense missing a good chunk of its secondary (minus Ryan Mundy, Kyle Fuller, etc.) allowed QB Geno Smith to hit Greg Salas for a huge 51-yard gain. However, the patchwork Bears defense saved the day, as safety Brock Vereen slid over and blanketed Jets WR Jeremy Kerley in the end zone on a 4th-and-5 to seal a hard-earned win.
Speaking of Smith, Good Geno and bad Geno are playing side by side in 2014, as the New York Jets' signal caller of the future seems to be stuck in a cycle of three steps forward, two steps back. At times on Monday, Smith (26-of-43, 316 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) looked like a top-ten quarterback with brilliant instincts and a killer first step. But (and this is a big but), Smith threw two what-was-he-thinking picks that cost the Jets seven directly (his pick-six) and seven indirectly (an inexcusable interception in the back of the end zone thrown with all the time in the world).
Geno is growing this season, but his mistakes (and even his near mistakes) remain killers and need to be corrected. The Jets left anywhere from 10-to-18 points on the field - something that can't continue to happen for New York to succeed in 2014.
Pick Martellus Bennett up off your fantasy league's waiver wire right now. The Chicago Bears tight end has emerged as quarterback Jay Cutler's best friend in the passing game, as he has a knack for getting open when Chicago's superstar tandem of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are locked down. Bennett's second TD catch of the game sucked the life out of MetLife Stadium early in the third quarter (making it 24-13), and his stat line (5 catches, 54 yards, 2 TDs) indicates that he'll be seeing a lot more targets from Cutler here on out.
The Jets' secondary is spirited, but they're a liability. New York's defense is built on the strength of their front seven. The youth in the back four was picked on by the Packers in Week 2, and Jay Cutler also found a decent amount of success when he was afforded time. Credit the Jets' defensive backs for banding together late to keep the game in reach. Howver, until Rex Ryan gets the secondary fully sorted out, New York will be forced to blitz, blitz, and blitz some more (and deal with the consequences that can come with that) as a means of holding back opposing offenses.
Monday's escape act against the New York Jets team doesn't take away from the fact that the Chicago Bears are good enough to win the NFC North. The Lions and Packers have both shown their flaws already in 2014 while the Minnesota Vikings have their finger firmly on the reset button. This is the year for the Bears to prove they can separate from the pack and parlay a division title into a January run.Back to the Chicago Bears Newsfeed